advanced cardio primary website speed boost

WordPress Plugins & Duplicate Functionality Analysis: A Case Study

An in-depth functionality assessment leads to major site load savings.

Forensic Case Study: Advanced Cardio & Primary Care LLC Website

Advanced Cardio & Primary Care: WordPress

I began working with Advance Cardio & Primary Care LLC (ACPC) when they approached me to clean the malware from their website. After cleaning their site, I was tasked with improving their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) status adn developing a strategy moving forward.

My first priority was to improve the overall site speed.

Average Load Time

12.5 seconds

according to regular assessments

Average Load Time

1.1 seconds

according to regular assessments

The cause of the excessive load time was unique and something I hadn’t see before, which I think is worth sharing and documenting.

After addressing typical slow site load issues like resizing and compressing images and files, checking the caching and CDN setup, and reviewing the console log for specific errors I dove into a deep forensic audit. That typically includes reviewing all post types, theme files, plugins and the server setup.

The primary results of the forensic review resulted in the removal of 13 plugins that were activated but not being used. As I analyzed different pages, it became clear that the previous developer was creating functionality through different methods in different locations.

Stop Adding Slideshow Plugins!

I found 5 different plugins and tools available to create slideshow functionality, including:

  1. The built in WordPress Guttenberg Block
  2. The Avada Theme Must Use Plugin: Advance Layout Builder
  3. The WP Bakery Page Builder Plugin
  4. The Layer Slider Plugin
  5. The Revolutions Slider Plugin (2 installations, different version – 1 deactivated)

I can only imagine the thought process of the previous developer – I’d guess they didn’t know that slideshow functionality existed in 1 – 3, and likely installed a slideshow plugin, found it difficult to navigate and installed another.

Then I discovered that there were 2 installations of the revolution slider plugin. Although this is difficult to accomplish through the WordPress Admin Dashboard, it is possible to double install a plugin through ftp.

It gets worse.

Complicating matters, the most recent slideshow plugin was not a complete set of files. This issue was not caught by WordPress that would normally display an error message because the plugin was able to fall back on the database tables created by the older version of the plugin and therefore not trigger any errors. However, this setup was causing a severe issue with load time.

Create functionality efficiently, using the tools you already have.

Once i had taken stock of all this, I reviewed the slideshow being displayed and recreated it using the image carousel in the Must-Use Advance Layout Builder Plugin that is required by the active theme. This enabled me to remove all 3 of the added plugins and associated database tables. Once the new slideshow was in place, and the extra plugins were removed, the initial site load time lost a whopping 11 seconds!

advance cardio site speed after forensic audit

WordPress Lesson: Hiring an experienced developer will save you time & money in the long run.

This case study highlights the importance of hiring an experienced WordPress Developer when you build your business website. Understanding the front end cost of different plugins is one of the most important aspects of good WordPress website development. All too often an inexperienced developer will rely so heavily on plugins, often ones they are not too familiar with, that the final products suffers greatly.

Contact Contento Interactive Group

If your WordPress website is experiencing slow load times, please drop me an email. I’d be happy to do a forensic audit of your site and provide a variety of budget friendly solutions.